Friday, August 30, 2019

OMG, It's Month End!

Time to wrap up all my August sewing and share it with you. I got a bit more done in the last few days, which is satisfying.

First, I finished my OMG - One Monthly Goal for August and am linking up to Elm Street Quilts and the August finish party. My goal was to complete the Firefighters Quilt this month, and OMG helped motivate me to get 'er done!  Here is the finished quilt, which measures 44x56".

The 12 panel blocks were not the same size, and unfortunately the way I set this quilt up rather accentuated that fact. But the kids won't care, and hopefully the firefighters who judge these quilts won't either. All the quilts made by our Salt Lake Quilts for Kids group will be displayed at Nuttall's Fabrics (our local Bernina store and the #1 Bernina dealer in the country) in their soon-to-be-opened Murray store. But that's not even until the end of October - National Fire Prevention Month. And then the firefighters themselves will judge. The firefighters will keep the quilts on their trucks to pass out to kids for comfort as necessary. Win or lose, it's a great cause!

I had to add a Red Cross (get it?) to the back because I didn't buy enough of the firefighter backing.

And this shot shows a little of the free-form flame quilting I did, which was a first for me (as you can probably tell, LOL!). Nothing ventured, nothing gained...

So that's the Firefighter Quilt, which was not only my August OMG, but also Goal #4 from my 3rd Quarter Finish-Along list, which you can see HERE.

Finally, I have my recap of Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing for August. The color this month is/was light to medium (and bright) blues.

I finished about 45 blocks. They included 2 Beachcomber crumb blocks, 1 row of selvage tumblers, 4 selvage four-patches, 6 Cracker blocks, 4 Anvil blocks, 8 Garlic Knots, 2 International Sisters (oops! forgot to include those), some bitcoin blocks, 8 nine-patch variation blocks, and 9 string blocks (3 @ 9" and 6 at 6").

If you want to see more blue scrappy sewing goodness, hop over to Angela's So Scrappy blog for Scrappy Saturday. I'm looking forward to just chilling in my chair with a cup of coffee and checking out all the fun sewing that's been going on in August.

And speaking of chilling in a chair, here is another picture of Bruce with his trusty sidekick Alfalfa. Alfie is the self-appointed morale officer.

I luvs laying on my Dad....

What do YOU want?
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Are We in a Time Warp?

Wow, the last couple weeks just seemed to speed by. But if you asked hubby Bruce, I'm sure he would say just the opposite. For two weeks he had his right hand/arm sewn to his abdomen in order for a skin flap be to acclimated (my word, not the doctors') and then grafted to his forearm, where the cancerous tissue was taken. Anyway, the flap and arm were "detached" yesterday, and he is beginning the healing process. It remains to be seen how much hand function he will retain (it looks like most, but not all) because he's still swollen and sore. But he can now get it wet and we can change bandages here at home until his follow-up visit in two weeks. The light at the end of the tunnel is here, and it isn't a train!!

During this two weeks of self-imposed hibernation for us (it was hard and uncomfortable for Bruce to get around a lot), there was still a lot happening. The back basement door for my studio, which was ordered back in April, finally arrived and was installed.  Now, I know it's just a boring, two-panel door, but it is So.Dang.Exciting to me. The old door was beyond ugly and plain, and the screen had seen better days forty years ago. So, now there's this lovely, clean, wooden door (not steel to draw the cold in) with a lock and dead bolt. I still need to do some touch-ups around the frame, and then we'll be cutting out the carpet around the door to do a small tile entry, probably over the winter or in the spring.

Here is the back door open with the new storm door visible. We can open the screen from the bottom up, which the kitties love. They can lay in the sunshine even if the view is only the basement stair landing and some sky (and a phony plant for some color).

We plan to get a new light fixture out there too,  but that will also wait until spring.

Another happening had to do with the apricot tree.  After the deluge of apricots this year, we were curious to see where all the branches reached when not laden with fruit and propped up with boards. Well, they reached into the power lines, over to the eaves and a bedroom window, and across and into the neighbor's yard (even though we had cut them all back two years ago). The rest of the branches (two of them) reached up waaaaaaay high or else out across the grass area (admittedly rather small) and over to the garden. Bruce had trimmed the lower, diseased branches out near the tree crotch during the apricot season. Anyway, we decided it was time for the tree to go.  It had grown way beyond its described growth when we bought it as a sapling fifteen years ago. Any future fruit would be unmanageable (especially given our aging and health issues). Believe me, this broke my heart. Our yard guys, who are arborists, felled it and cut it up in an hour flat. They left the stump at my request, so that I could put a bird house on it. We do plan to replace it next year with something smaller.

I miss the shade and protection it offered. I'm sure the birds do, too. Boomer's grave, at its foot, is no longer sheltered. My granddaughter London cried when she saw it was gone. She remembers her pre-school days here at grammy's when we used to play out in her kiddie pool and have an apricot drop right in the water for us!

London in 2014 singing "Roar!"
I've been doing some small baby quilt quilting for Quilts for Kids. I've also got three kids quilts I've sewn up from scraps that are basted and ready to be quilted. But first, I'm working to get my August One Monthly Goal finished by month-end on Saturday.

This Firefighter quilt is made from a wonky, misspelled panel (I fixed the misspelled word by taking a tuck to hide the errant letter). The design is my own.  Currently it's basted and about 25% percent quilted. I'm doing some free-form flames. I'll talk more about it when it's done.

We so appreciate all the nice messages from those of you who have taken time to see how Bruce and I are doing and to express kind wishes and words of support. It warms my heart and means more to both of us than you can know. Thank you! So now I'll just the "Publish" button and get this update on its way!

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Bruce had his second arm surgery this past week, on Tuesday. It was performed by the plastic surgeon (unlike last week's surgery, which was the oncology surgeon). We got to see the wound from the first surgery while in the surgeon's office the day before the second surgery. It was interesting to see the actual bone, tissue and ligaments moving inside his arm through the gaping wound. Neither one of us are squeamish about this. I don't know why I'm not, but maybe it's because two years ago we went through this same thing. Bruce, a former medical engineer who worked for Symbion and Robert Jarvik on the artificial heart, has watched many open heart and other surgical procedures. 

The plastic surgeon wasn't able to proceed with Plan A, which was to take tissue and skin from his arm and move it around to cover the surgical wound.  So it was Plan B; sew Bruce's hand once again to his abdomen to let the flap of tissue acclimate to its new site and establish a viable blood supply. It will be another couple weeks, sometime before Labor Day, before they release the arm. They'll cut the tissue flap from the abdomen, then sew up the abdomen and the arm. It's the easiest of the three surgeries. Will this happen again? It's possible, even probable, given past history. But we'll take it one year at a time. 

So here are my boys, Bruce and Alfie, enjoying each other's company. We have a pretty good set-up for Bruce in his recliner in the living room. Alfie loves to nap on a pillow with "Dad".

So, in between doctor visits, surgery, nursing (and pharmacy, grocery shopping, garden, laundry, etc), I actually managed to get a lot of sewing done this week. I'm actually surprised at how much I got done. But then, putting up some tomato sauce here or making a tomato pie there is hands-down easier than dealing with bushels of apricots for weeks on end! Speaking of tomato pie, I used Carole's recipe (from her blog, From My Carolina Home), and it was deeee-lish!! It's the first time we've ever had tomato pie. But not the last!

So, let's get to some of the blue sewing. I'm linking up to our regular Scrappy Saturday scrapfest over at Angela's blog, So Scrappy. Here are the blocks, in no particular order.

Two International Sisters blocks. These are from Preeti's pattern, which you can find HERE.  Meet Elizabeth (Cady Stanton? Warren?) and Toni.  These sisters are known for being persistent and good writers!  That solid blue fabric is actually from Africa - in this picture it still has the wax finish on it.

Some light to medium blue bitcoins. Although I originally planned to use these as a border, I've changed my mind. They'll go into the Parts Department along with all the other bitcoins and become a part of some future quilt.

Then we had some string blocks. First there were the three 9.5" string blocks. I only need 3 more (purple) string blocks, and the large strings will be ready to assemble into a flimsy. So, I started making some 6.5" string blocks - six of them. I'm going to make lots of basic 6.5" blocks this year and next in various colors. Strings, crumbs, HSTs, etc. Then I can use them as blocks in Quilts for Kids quilts.

Next we have 8 Garlic Knot blocks, which measure 8.5" (unfinished).

Two Beachcomber blocks made from crumbs. They measure 11.5" each (unfinished). This is my current crumb project.

And finally, 8 blocks of this 9-patch variation pattern. This one is getting close, too. I'll have enough once I do the purples, depending on what setting I choose.  We'll see about this when the time comes.

And I have been making progress on my One Monthly Goal (OMG). I'm kinda winging this as I go along, because the original panel blocks were an odd size. But it seems to be shaping up. The little bits of bright yellow you see on some block borders will disappear - they're unsewn seam allowances. I do plan to add a white-black-white border around the quilt with 9-patch cornerstones and a red binding. But that may change, depending on how it looks. I think my pace is good for a finish before month-end.

You might remember that this challenge came about from our Salt Lake Quilts for Kids group, because we had these mis-printed panels donated to us. The block below had the word "Firefighters" spelled with an L: "Fireflighters". So, I made a little tuck in the block, and it is pretty much invisible now. Sorry for the bad picture.

Thank you all for your kind emails, thoughts and prayers for Bruce. We really do appreciate it. I'll be answering all your emails, even if I'm a bit slow. I figure that if I have time to sew, I should have time to write, right? It's just that sometimes I need to bury myself in fabric....

Friday, August 9, 2019

True Blue

August is blue month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, my online sewing buddies. More specifically, the color is light to medium blue. And that is so appropriate because here at home we've been lightly blue because the sarcoma in Bruce's right forearm reappeared. But the surgery was last Wednesday and results are great news; the oncology surgeon was able to remove it all! We will meet with the plastic surgeon on Monday and closure and/or reconstructive surgery will be Tuesday or Wednesday. The plastic surgeon hasn't seen the wound yet, so until he does, we're not sure what the next step will be. Right now Bruce is home with a wound vac (negative pressure therapy) on his arm. That is light years easier than me having to dress his deep open wounds as we did two years ago.  

So, things are looking up! We had a "date" yesterday to our favorite place, Barnes and Noble (that's actually where we met on our first date years ago). We had coffee, read magazines, bought some stuff and chatted. It was nice, and a good first outing for Bruce after surgery. He's pretty much back to normal except for his heavily bandaged arm. But all things in time.....

And I did manage to get some sewing time in yesterday, as well as on Tuesday before the surgery. The first thing was this rather wonky-looking row of light blue tumblers. I'm alternating the fabrics with selvage tumblers. Not much to look at, really.

Here are all the rows to date sewn together. It looks a little better, but still wonky. The alignment of the tumbler die on my Go Baby cutter isn't straight. So unless I load my fabric in at an angle (which I forget to do at least a couple time for every color it seems!), the cut selvage tumbler (and the fabric ones too sometimes) comes out wonky. And it probably doesn't help that I pin it up on the design wall without even trying to straighten it... But the quilt police are going to have to take a chill pill, because I'm not going to fix it.

When the sides are chopped off to get a straight edge, the width will be about 41". The length isn't there yet, but this piece will still get a purple and a black/gray row, and possibly a brown row.  That should give it a bit more length than width, because I hate square quilts.  I may add a thin white stop border around it, then a top/bottom wider border in some fabric/color. Still evaluating. It's going to be a donation quilt, so I'm not going to wring my hands over it too much.

And here is the 8th of 9 selvage 16-patch blocks. It measures 16" square. I still don't like these any better than I did eight months ago, but it's eating up selvages and some background fabric scraps, so there you go. I'll do one more in purple, sew them together into a quilt top. A 48" square quilt top, no less. I'll be disliking it even more then! I may add a bitcoin border to it - those little tiny 1x2" finished strips I've been sewing all year. We'll see how crazy I get. Another donation quilt destined for Elsewhere.

And then I got down to some real, fun sewing. I only needed six light blue cracker blocks. This one will begin coming together after we do purple!

And things are back clicking along again at the Block Lotto. My friend Nann and I have volunteered to co-run the Block Lotto to allow its originator, Sophie, to retire from the responsibilities. Nann chose the block this month, State Fair. They will finish at 6 inches. These are the four I sewed, and I think it's a really cute idea.

I hope your weekend is as happy and peaceful as I know ours is going to be!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

One Monthly Goal (OMG) for August

For the month of August, my sewing goal will be to finish this Firefighter Quilt for my local Quilts for Kids group. We had our August meeting last weekend, so I won't be able to turn it in until our September meeting at the end of September. But I'd love to knock it out ASAP so I can concentrate on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks in light blue this month. And I have 8 quilts for QFK to quilt before the September meeting, although two are done already. There is no shortage of projects here!  

So this is what the Firefighter quilt looks like now:

First I have to border the blocks on two sides with the Dalmatian print. Then they will get either red, blue or orange (ombre orange fabric left over from Saguaro Sunset) and then white (which is up on the design board but not very visible). Once the 12 blocks are bordered, they will be set with the colors running diagonally, like above. I'll see what the size is at that point (I'm winging this), and then perhaps add a border or two. And I have some cute fireman fabric for the back. I plan to quilt flames onto it; I've even been practicing.

So, all in all, a do-able goal. 

I may be unable to post for awhile. Bruce's begins his first arm surgery tomorrow (we have to be there at 5:30 a.m.!!) If I don't respond to your comments, please understand. But we're hoping that things will go smoothly and settle down into a home-care-and-surgery routine. Fingers crossed that the next 4-6 weeks fly by relatively uneventfully.